Sponsor licence for start up

Application Type: Sponsor licence + Skilled worker visa

Challenge: company is a start-up; person responsible for the sponsor licence is not settled in the UK; limited amount of time to obtain undefined CoS before 4 April 2024.

Outcome: Granted

This corporate client instructed Emigral to obtain a sponsor licence. The client, serving both as the Level 1 user and the Authorising officer, was on an innovator founder visa, operating a start-up incorporated less than 18 months ago. The first obstacle was gathering the necessary documentation was a significant challenge due to the company's recent establishment.

Furthermore, two critical requests were made by the Home Office:

The first one was the request by the Hole Office for the Proof of OFSTED Accreditation. Ofsted primarily inspects and regulates services related to early years and children's social care, ensuring their suitability for children and potentially vulnerable young people. However, our team effectively countered this requirement by clarifying the nature of the company's operations. We explained that OFSTED's role primarily pertains to services involving early years and children's social care. In contrast, the client's company specialises in STEM international education and vocational education resource platforms, focusing on technical and vocational secondary education and educational support services. Importantly, the company exclusively deals with students aged 18 and above, negating the need for Ofsted accreditation due to the absence of involvement with younger students.

The second issue and request by the Home Office pertained to the requirement of having at least one Level 1 user who is a Settled Worker, as per guidance L4.33. We responded by referring to the same guidance, which allows exceptions for individuals with valid entry clearance or permission under certain categories. The client, holding an Innovator visa, fulfilled the criteria for an acceptable Level 1 user under the Innovator category, thereby meeting the requirement.

As a result, the sponsor licence was obtained. However, our client decided to proceed with a different candidate for the vacant position. Consequently, they were required to obtain an additional undefined Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). The agreed yearly salary for the position was below £30,000, so we needed to ensure that a CoS was obtained and assigned before the changes to the Immigration Rules, including the significant increase in the salary threshold for Skilled Workers on April 4, 2024. We assisted our client in expediting this process and ensured that the CoS was assigned on time. As a result, the subsequent Skilled Worker application was also successful.

Alexandra Mokrova